Cast your mind back to May 2013. The excitement of two next-generation consoles releasing in a few short months was unbearable, the general gaming public had been saving up for months, maybe years for the Winter ahead, and any news no matter how small was like discovering a jewel in the harsh sands of the blistering desert.

Sony and Microsoft would continue their raging battle for supremacy, with Nintendo already having entered the next-generation world with their Wii U, while the non-console gamers would sit unmoved in the background, wondering what all the fuss was about. Some things never change.

Microsoft organised a press conference in order to reveal their new machine. The anticipation was enormous, with Sony having already announced the Playstation 4 three months earlier, to see what Microsoft had organised to react.

The results were not impressive. Not only did the name ‘Xbox One’ come under scrutiny (this is the third Xbox console after all), but a host of its features were instantly degraded by critics and fans alike.

The main concerns were as follows:

  • The DRM model (Digital Rights Management) which meant that any physically-purchased game installed on to the console would be linked to an account, meaning that the disc could not be used in any other console. Therefore re-selling the game disc would be impossible, but the disc would not be needed to play the game, which could also be ‘shared’ with up to ten friends/family members, or to anyone else for 30 days.
  • In order to enable this sharing capability, each console would effectively need to be connected to the internet at all times (or at least once every day) whether you intended to share games or not.
  • The new Kinect model to be released alongside the Xbox One would be mandatory. At all times Kinect would be plugged in to the console, even when not being used.
  • The Xbox One was advertised as more of a home entertainment system than a gaming console, which for the gaming population was a huge put-off. (Prompting Sony to adopt the phrase ‘This is for the players’ for their PS4).

On the plus side, the new controller received generally positive impressions. However, with only pictures to go by for now, the real test would be when players could get their hands on it and test out its functionality (spoiler alert: It turned out to be quite good!)

xbox one reveal

Fast forward to today, and the general feeling towards the Xbox One are much, much better than at the beginning. Admittedly it has been far outsold by Sony’s machine but the games are varied and exciting, the problems are minimal overall and many of these initial concerns have been addressed.  Just after E3 had wrapped up, Microsoft U-turned on their DRM model, therefore allowing discs to be played in as many different consoles as possible. On top of this, the ‘always online’ idea was suitably canned, being reverted to an initial online connection when first receiving the console, and the requirement of Kinect to be constantly connected was also removed, although the mandatory purchase of the motion-sensor peripheral remained (to begin with).

One reason for the shift in opinion for the Xbox One could be down to the change in leadership. In March 2014, the ‘Head of Xbox’ Marc Whitten quit his post and paved the way for the current incumbent Phil Spencer, who has been with Microsoft since 1988 in various roles. One of his first actions was to dedicate most of the Xbox One’s efforts towards games, focusing more on what makes it a games console as opposed to an entertainment system.

phil spencer 2

At this year’s E3, Xbox used the slogan ‘The greatest games lineup in Xbox History’, with Spencer leading the show. Whether this is genuinely the case or not is down to opinion, however the team at Xbox are certainly turning things around, with Kinect now available for purchase separately from the console, and the forefront of each Xbox showcase being what is most important to the fans: the games.

We are now seeing a greater variety in games, including the indie scene with games like Ori and the Blind Forest, Nero and more. It will be interesting to see if timed-exclusivity on games like Rise of the Tomb Raider has any actual effect on sales. Other exclusives like Quantum Break, Recore, Sea of Thieves and Halo Wars 2 has the Xbox fanbase very excited for the future.

After an initial price of $499, the console has repeatedly been slashed in price, especially after the removal of Kinect’s mandatory status, and is currently on sale from Microsoft themselves for $349. The way Microsoft were handling the PR side of things to begin with was pretty poor when first revealed, however people’s heads have been turning for over a year now and the Xbox is once again the console of choice for a large section of gamers young and old.

A massive announcement coming out of this years E3 was the introduction of backwards compatibility to allow Xbox 360 games to be played on an Xbox One. Either digitally or physically, the older games that people may have missed out on the first time around will soon be available to play on this generation’s console. Currently only available to ‘Xbox Preview’ members, the full update is expected in November, with a vast selection of Xbox 360 games available straightaway, with many more promised in the future. This is more than doubling the selection of games available to play on the current generation’s machine, and considering it’s absolutely free is a huge step in the right direction.

xbox one backwards compatibility

The Xbox One is definitely here to stay. The inevitable slim model will be on its way, new ‘Elite’ controllers are coming and brilliant games are now out or on the horizon. The reveal has had lasting effects, and the price difference has been an issue leading to Sony’s somewhat dominance, but to say the Xbox One is a failure would be foolish. Perhaps Microsoft will take extra care on their next major reveal though.

Whether you own a PS4, Xbox One, Wii U or gaming PC, it’s a fantastic time to be a gamer and the fact that these companies are listening, and making changes based on our feedback is good news for everyone.

Do you own an Xbox One? Are you happy with it? Let us know what you think below, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest news and reviews on Single Player games.

Rhys Cooper

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10 Comments

  1. No disrespect to Xbone owners. Buy the console with the games you enjoy the most.

    However these articles explaining how Xbone has changed it’s ways have been coming up for months now and are indicative of how badly sales of the Xbone are doing internationally. They give the appearance of MS begging customers to forget the anti-consumer policies they had at release.

    I’m fine with Xbone having slightly lower powered hardware but why are they selling at the same price point as PS4 even for bundles without the Kinect?

    Also, the changes being brought to desktop versions of Windows 10 are making it difficult for me to believe that MS is really a user experience focused company.

    1. I have both consoles. There are some things I really like about the Xbox brand, but I find that, that is namely from an interface layout perspective, and social…however, I haven’t been doing too much social gaming as late…no Destiny raids, no matchmaking etc. I’ve just been doing campaign mission/ story mode oriented gameplay and at that point, there’s really no benefit to the Xbox.
      Oh- and they’ve really gone back on nothing. I mean they’re still headed toward the obvious “cloud streaming model,” which means that things like “Always On” connections are Always going to be essential. Sure, Microsoft may be momentarily making it optional, but you’ll have a butchered experience. They may not have 24 hour DRM checks, but if you own more than one Xbox One, for instance, and/ or have yet to designate your Xbox as “Home Xbox,” you cannot play digitally downloaded games, with no internet and/ or when their services are down. I have a back room and front room Xbox, in the event me and my wife want to co-op Spartan ops in Halo, or similar…or in the even I want to continue playing while she is in bed…this means, by marking any one of my Xbox’s as “Home,” you’re telling Xbox Live that you do not want your cloud based saves to be shared/ synced to other consoles and that you are only playing on that console. This enables offline play…but here’s the hitch — you cannot momentarily designate an Xbox as Home Xbox, without an internet connection, so if your internet and/ or Microsoft servers are down, you have to wait until their online to play, either way.
      Sony does not do this issue and I love Sony for granting their consumers freedom. Freedom to even so much as manage your saves and back them up to USB. I’m annoyed I did not get MGSV – Phantom Pain for PS4 because I got to a certain point in that game, and did not equip an emblem in time to prevent the loss of my favorite companion in that game, and I did not have an old save backed up to reload. With the PS4, in games like Witcher 3, I have multiple play-trough’s backed up on the cloud and on USB.

  2. XBOX in general has come a LONG way since the Xbone’s worse gaming console reveal in history.
    – Xbox finally has an online service that actually gives you something for your membership (monthly games even though it still took over 7 months to kick in for Xboners)
    – they just added a universal 3.5mm jack to the controller (something that should have been there since launch by the way)
    – still messed up with no battery packs in the controllers though
    – bluray drive
    – no size restrictions on game patches, demos, digital game downloads now (which hindered developers last gen)
    – better storage options on the console today compared to the forced overs expensive console hard drives and ridiculous 32gb limit on USB storage.
    – mandatory installs
    – larger capability of online games on the service (although nowhere near the capability of MAG in 2010 and most certainly nowhere close to Planetside 2 either)
    – Free2Play games (but only to an extent and they need complete control over the game, like with World of Tanks, I think that game came to a size of 100mbs on back 360, THAT is the reason alone that they backed this game but only because of that tiny size but you actually still need Gold to play anyway, like all Free2Play games on Xbox Live)
    – keyboard and mouse support finally (essentially everything PS3 did since 2006 really is what makes Xbox so much better than it was in the dark, rip you off at every chance they can get, 360 days)
    – I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I would be ten times more likely to pick up an Xbone today over a 360 back in the day (which I avoided like the plague, not that there is any games that interests me on Xbone though)

  3. I have both and I have to say the Xbox one still needs some work. I encounter game crashing almost daily. The ten month drought also keeps the last three years of the 360 fresh in mind with microsofts ability to provide games on a constant basis and I am not a fan of their third party exclusive route of having “exclusives”. That is a trend that needs to go away on both consoles.
    With the third party games being slightly less in quality on the Xbox one, I buy them all on ps4. Guess I am kind of sour for when I broke down to buy the Xbox one was for mcc. The single player remakes are less than stellar and the issues outweigh the amount of stuff to do then I buy forza horizon 2 and get constant game crashing…
    Xbox has come a long way but when I use it, I still feel they are only half way and I feel like I wasted my money on it.

    1. Halo MCC is a perfect example of a game that was ridiculed for its botched online portions since launch. Yet last August in a friend’s, 2 of them were playing Halo 2 completely offline in 2 Player split screen on the hardest mode. They were so close to the end of a tough level for an achievement and BOOM game crashed to Xbox Dashboard. No mention of this mode breaking on people though and 9 months after launch too. No wonder there is no Split Screen in Halo 5.

  4. i still wont buy a ps4 today.i do not like any of it exclusives.xbox one still has the best exclusives to date.i cant stand 6-8hr single player games with quick time events selling for $60.dont care how good it looks.ill tak an xbox one all day over the ps4 this generation.late gen i liked ps3 over xbox 360 but had both.ill stick with my pc for multiplate xbox one for exclusives and win 10 ftw.i cant wait to play xbox one games in vr with window 10.all this is how xbox one has won me over.

    1. Your grammar killed me.

      1. funny how fan boys say that.xbox one has had the best exclusives since launch.it took the ps4 2years to get a good exclusive like bloodborne and its a watered down version of dark solus.
        the only other good ps4 game at launch was infamous second son.EVERY OTHER PS4 EXCLUSIVE FAILED imo.xbox one has had the best exclusives and highest rated ones at hat.

  5. Since I bought the Xbox One I never regretted it. The only thing was the UI was slow but now it’s getting fixed with the NXOE so I have no more complaints. Can’t wait to see more of what Microsoft has planned for the One.

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